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Power Rangers ‘Once And Always’ Celebrates Their Legacy

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Editor’s Note: This article contains spoilers for “Mighty Morphin Power Ranger: Once and Always.”

Hasbro released the special “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once and Always,” commemorating 30 years of the franchise with characters from its first incarnation, to Netflix on April 19.

In 2022, Billy Cranston (David Yost), the Blue Ranger, fights a revived Rita Ripulsa (Barbra Goodson) — a character who was killed in a previous season — alongside the other rangers. Just before Rita launches an attack that would kill him, Trini Kwan (Thuy Trang), the Yellow Ranger, defends him and dies instead. As Billy contemplates with Zach Taylor (Walter Emanuel Jones), the Black Ranger, over her death, Trini’s daughter, Minh (Charlie Kersh), overhears them and vows to avenge her mother’s death.

One year later, Rita attacks the Rangers and captures three of them: Tommy Oliver (Jason David Frank) as the Green Ranger, Jason Lee Scott (Austin St. John) as the Red Ranger and Kimberly Heart (Amy Jo Johnson) as the Pink Ranger. Cranston and Taylor must fight back alongside Rocky Desantos (Steve Cardenas), the replacement Red Ranger and Kat (Catherine Sutherland), the replacement Pink Ranger. 

Over the course of the story, Minh develops fighting skills as revenge against Trini’s death. However, after an incident where she is overwhelmed by enemies, Minh learns to be more selfless. After several fights, the group meets Rita at her moon base, where she announces plans to use the captured rangers to power her time machine. She will use it to travel back in time and kill the rangers before they gain their powers, thus ensuring her ability to rule the world. She attempts to kill Billy when he gets in the way of her plan. However, Minh takes the blast intended for him, and enters a near-death state. But her mother encourages her from beyond the grave and she becomes a full ranger, working with the others to defeat Rita. The movie ends with Minh, Zack and Billy in the juice bar from the original series.

The special did a good job of celebrating the franchise’s legacy while working within the constraints that they had. Though Jason, Kimberly and Tommy’s original actors declined to participate in the special, and Trang tragically died in a car crash in 2001, the special still works around this by giving their characters archival dialogue and taking them out at the beginning of the story, freeing up space for the other characters. 

Perhaps because of this, the remaining characters have more memorable interactions. For instance, Zach and Billy have several important scenes in the special, both with each other and with Minh. One scene has Zach lecturing Minh about the duties of a Ranger, which go beyond the fights and quips that the show is stereotypically known for. This helps to indicate that Zach takes his role as a mentor seriously and wants Minh to see just how important the role is. Billy, meanwhile, is the one who takes Minh into the Megazord — the Ranger’s famous giant robot — for the first time. Given just how powerful the device is, both literally and as a plot device to end nearly every episode of the TV series, it is an indication of how much she has grown as a fighter and a character for Billy to trust her with the control of such a powerful object. 

Minh also has several important scenes. For instance, by sacrificing her life for Billy, she learns to be more selfless and prove her place as a Ranger. By balancing the story between the three characters, it helps to offset each other’s roles, as no one dominates the others. While Rocky and Kat do not have as many important scenes, it is still a significantly better balance compared to the two most recent anniversary specials (2018’s “Dimensions in Danger” and 2013’s “Legendary Battle”), both of which have Tommy overshadowing all other ranger reappearances. In this way, it provides better balance in regards to characters as a celebration of the series compared to previous specials. 

Even though the franchise is not particularly known for its non-action sequences, there are several important ones within the special. For instance, at the beginning of the special, Billy and Zach debate on how to inform Minh about Trini’s death. This scene helps to ground the characters as, despite the unrealistic circumstances of a monster attack, death is a tough subject to handle — especially for a young child. It makes sense that the characters would debate such an issue, as she needs to know about death, but their concerns about her youth — given how children are associated with innocence — are also justified. Minh demonstrates maturity and determination as a fighter, training in martial arts and fighting against Rita’s forces. 

“Power Rangers: Once and Always” is a special that is worthy of the brand’s name. With a mixture of fighting and heart, it demonstrates the powerful legacy and values of the franchise. 

Bailey Kanthatham is an Arts & Entertainment Contributing Writer. He can be reached at